Like many of you, I tuned in on Saturday night to cheer on Andy Somthing-or-other singing Britain's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest (or, Le Contest Eurovisionelle de Song, as it's more widely known on the continent). Like you, I was flabberghasted - not to mention dumbfounded - as the results came in and Arnie's toe-tapping ode to the harmless pleasures of stoat doctoring was voted joint last by the hairbrained listeners of Europe - although, in fairness, I have to admit that the singing clothespegs from Lithuania who went on to finish first were quite extraordinary. They looked almost inhuman, didn't they? OK, so Ally Whatsisface isn't Sandie Shaw - although after a dozen or so Pernod amd Lemsips, he did start to bear an un-nerving resemblance to a bald Petula Clark as photographed by Man Ray - but, Europe: *come* on*!!
Mind you, I wasn't in favour of us going in in the first place, if truth be told. "You mark my words", I told Marc Bolan in 1974, "there'll be rivers of brie before this is all over. It's one thing having a nice holiday in Toulouse Lautrec once or twice a year, washed down by a cheeky claret from Bouganvillea and jetting back from the Costa del Bravo with a straw donkey stuffed with duty free mescalin, but you wait til they all start pouring over here and opening Ciabatta stalls and having a family of twenty on the rates. Now, can I borrow some of your glitter, mine fell down the sofa...?"
And so it has proved. But it's one thing having the shape of your avocados decided for you by an unelected (and probably unhygienic) committee of so-called experts in Ghent and quite another to have your nation's minor pop non entities subjected to pan-continental ridicule in a rigged pageant of ill-conceived Eurocock. When the successor to our great European musical tradition (and Brotherhood of Man) finishes joint last behind a 9-armed inflatable tent with a sythesizer whistling old yiddish folk songs backwards (...and Azerbaijan's was one of the *better* entries...) that surely means the start of the slippery slope. I mean, what next? Jackbooted stormtroopers gunning down innocent Brazilian electricians on the streets, in cold blood?? It'll happen, just see if it doesn't...
But then, the whole ruddy country's going to the dogs if you ask me. Time was when a chap could sashay over the post-industrial wasteland as happy as Larry in a stunning, floor length, brocaded 'man's dress' and calf skin knee highs and, whilst they wouldn't be exactly waving flags at you, the worst you could expect by way of abuse was a few 'ooooh - you are awful'-s and a 'give us a twirl, Anthea'. Nowadays, assuming you can summon up the courage to take the short cut through the sink estate to the Asian corner shop with the extensive collection of Iranian porno betamaxes (I can't recommend Imamuelle III highly enough, by the way...) it's a ruddy nightmare.
First you run the gauntlet of the kids - bonced out of their trees on High Strength Lighter Fluid and badly cut talcum - and they immediately lay into you in their curious new-fangled urban patois - "Yo! Bitch 'ho' mother fucker" this and "Lardy batty raas minger muff lady" that. Then the bloody parents start up - "Oi, you! Nonce features - fuck off back to your barrister boyfriend, you paediatric arse burgler and don't you dare lay a hand on my shitting kids, or I'll have your knob whittled down to a pinprick with a cheese grinder, alright??!!"
Honestly, you've never heard such language from a twelve year old...
L.U.V. on y'all,